ByVaria Fedko-Blake, writer at Creators.co
Staff Writer at Moviepilot! [email protected] Twitter: @vfedkoblake
Varia Fedko-Blake

Keanu Reeves rose to fame alongside the staggering success of the ground-breaking science-fiction blockbuster The Matrix, and ever since then, he has been a household name in Hollywood. Check the legendary actor in one of his most iconic roles here:

Having starred in a kaleidoscope of phenomenal movies over the years, amidst the troubles raging throughout his personal life, it is safe to say that the actor has come a long way. And believe it or not, judging from his eternally youthful looks, today he turns 51 years old!

Yet, for Keanu, it hasn't been an easy journey to get to where he is today. His personal story is far from a happy one, and if you had to live a day in the actor's life, you would soon realize the terrible run of luck he has had over the years. Let's relive some of the setbacks he has had to overcome:

A turbulent childhood

Keanu at the age of 3
Keanu at the age of 3

Having been abandoned as a child by his father at the age of 3, little Keanu had a difficult start to life. In addition to this, struggling with dyslexia and having to move from school to school during his high school years was a heavy blow on his self-esteem and education. So much so, that young Keanu actually left high school without receiving a diploma.

The presence of death around him

Keanu at the funeral of Jennifer Syme
Keanu at the funeral of Jennifer Syme

Not only did his best friend, River Phoenix, die of a drug overdose at the young age of 23, but after meeting the love of his life, Jennifer Syme, in 1998, tragedy struck again. At eight months pregnant with his daughter, Jennifer lost the baby, leaving the couple to grieve a child that could have been. And just when you thought that was all, life dealt Keanu a double-whammy when 18 months later he lost Jennifer too when she died in a horrific car accident, definitively shattering his life into pieces.

A few years later, Keanu spoke of the sorrow he continues to experience every day, uttering the words:

"Grief changes shape, but it never ends."

Overcoming the odds

Yet, regardless of his hardships, Keanu has overcome the odds and kept pushing on, despite the many setbacks he has had to face. Today, he remains one of the kindest souls out there, being perhaps one of the greatest celebrity philanthropists in Hollywood. Let's take a look at some wonderful things he has done in the past:

1. He donated his $80 million The Matrix paycheck

Famously uttering the words "money is the last thing I think about," Keanu has stuck true to this sentiment, once giving away his multi-million dollar paycheck from The Matrix to crew members working alongside him on the movie. He accompanied the donation with the declaration that they deserved the money more than him.

What a guy!

2. He regularly hangs out with homeless

Most notably back in 1997, when he spent the morning with a homeless man in West Hollywood, with whom he talked with for hours and hours.

Over and over, he has proved that he's very dedicated to the plight of such people, often going out his way to help those in need and out on the streets.

3. He is a massive supporter of cancer charities

Following his sister Kim's hard-hitting leukemia diagnosis, he took it upon himself to be her caretaker. Additionally, Keanu went out of his way to donate thousands upon thousands of dollars to cancer charities, research centers and hospitals. He did this all anonymously, including setting up his own anonymous charity.

4. He is a true gentleman!

This video, in which he graciously gives up his seat to a woman on the subway, alone speaks louder than words:

Keanu, we love you and wish you all the best for your birthday!

Please continue being the wonderful human being that you are!

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